Hulu and Disney+ content will be merged into one app, services remain separate – The Hollywood Reporter

Disney’s CEO announced Wednesday that Disney will bundle Hulu content with Disney+ content into one app.

The company will begin rolling out the new app by the end of the calendar year.

“As we continue to offer Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ as standalone options, this is a logical progression of DTC offerings that will provide greater opportunities for advertisers, while giving package subscribers access to more robust and streamlined content, leading to greater audience engagement and ultimately leading to A more unified streaming experience,” Iger said on the earnings call.

“The advertising potential of this combined platform is very exciting,” Egger added.

The former Disney CEO has signaled greater willingness to give up on the streaming platform. Appearing on CNBC on February 9, Iger spoke of Disney’s desire to move away from “undifferentiated entertainment,” saying of Hulu, “Everything is on the table right now, so I’m not going to fancy if we’re a buyer or a seller of it.” .

The CEO doubled down on that at an investor conference in March, saying the company continues to evaluate the best options for Hulu.

“What we’re doing now — because we own two-thirds of Hulu, and we have an agreement with Comcast that could lead to our owning 100 percent — is we’re really looking at the business very carefully, all these competitor dynamics with the understanding that we have a good platform in Hulu,” Iger said at a conference call. investors.

“We have very strong original programming, actually highly award-winning original programming, some of which is offered by FX, which is not only a great product, but a great brand, and we also have a good library, so it’s a solid platform. It’s also a very attractive platform for advertisers. It’s proven It’s already valuable to them and advertising has proven to be valuable to us.But the environment is very challenging right now and before we make any big decisions about our level of investment and commitment to this business, we want to understand where it can go.

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Disney owns the majority stake in Hulu, while Comcast holds the third stake. Starting in January 2024, Comcast can use its put option to require Disney to buy its stake, or Disney can use its put option to force Comcast to sell its stake.

Until Iger’s comments this winter, Disney seemed poised to buy Comcast’s stake. However, in the fall, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts also expressed interest in taking ownership of Hulu — though many saw his comments as a move to raise his company’s share price.

On Wednesday, Iger seemed to make Hulu more of an inseparable part of Disney, while also touting its advertising prowess.

Hulu’s SVOD platform, combined with its SVOD package and live TV package, brings more per user than Disney offers of any of its other streaming offerings, even as first-quarter segment results slumped.

Average monthly revenue just per paid Hulu subscriber fell to $11.73 from $12.46, which Disney said was “due to lower advertising revenue per subscriber and a higher mix of subscribers across multiple product offerings, partially offset by an increase in average retail prices.” The Live TV + SVOD package increased to $92.32 in average monthly revenue per paid subscriber versus $87.90 a year ago.

Within the direct-to-consumer segment, Hulu reduced total operating income, which Disney attributed to an increase in programming and production costs and lower advertising revenue for the quarter, which the company noted was “partly offset by subscription revenue growth and, to a lesser extent, Lower marketing costs.

In the three months ending April 1, Hulu’s subscriber count (which includes both SVOD plus live TV and bundle SVOD) remained largely flat over the year, coming in at 48.2 million, up from 48 million a year ago. Those numbers are pretty much in line with Disney+’s 46.3 million domestic subscribers (which was down 1% from a year earlier).

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